Question: Can you contour your cheekbones and body using self-tanner at home?
Answer: Simply applying an even, splotch-free layer of self-tanner is tricky enough; we always assumed it was best to leave the pros in charge of creating six-pack abs, defined legs and Karlie Kloss-level cheekbones with it. Not true, says tanning expert Katie Quinn. With practice and her insider tips below, you can fake looking like you’ve been toning up at the gym for weeks.
Face: “Look in the mirror and smile slightly,” says Quinn. “You’ll instantly see where the contouring should go: the area just beneath the cheekbone where the cheek caves in naturally. Imagine a “3” going from the arch of the eyebrow, to under the cheekbone, to under the jaw. This is the template for face contouring.” She recommends using a tanning lotion, applied with a makeup brush.
Cleavage: “For a firm and separated look, the key is highlighting the tops of the breasts and collarbone, then shading in two parenthesis shapes between the breasts and on the outsides with bronzer or self-tanner. Then shade above and below the collarbone in horizontal lines.”
Legs: Stand in front of a full-length mirror and apply highlighter to the fronts and backs of your legs. Then, lift one knee up slightly and note the leg’s natural definition on the inner thigh. Apply self-tanner to the insides of the thighs only. Now, with both feet on the floor, bend your knees for a partial squat and note the definition in your quads and above the knees. Trace over any definition with bronzer, then hold the squat and swivel to the side: “You’ll see a fantastic definition shadow going from the bum area almost all the way to the knee that shows when flexed just right or when you’re wearing your highest pair of heels. This line is key for leg contouring and completes the entire look,” says Quinn.
Arms: “Look in the mirror and point your index finger at the ground. The flexed muscle on the back of the arm (the triceps) can be easily enhanced using self-tanner. Dip the tip of a medium-sized makeup brush in self-tanner, continue to point your finger at the ground and trace over the natural definition in the upper arm. Relax, and dip the brush again. This time, look in the mirror and do the classic flexing pose, with your elbows raised and your fists clenched, flexing your biceps. Note where the bicep muscle caves in, particularly in the very center of the arm, in a half-moon shape. Trace over the natural definition so that when the arm is relaxed, it will look naturally toned and firm.”
Stomach: “Using a cotton ball or makeup brush and self-tanner, draw a straight line from the center of the cleavage to the navel, then draw a parenthesis on either side of the navel from the rib cage to the hip bones. This hourglass shape is very easy to do and adds a natural-looking shadow that never looks fake. Continue overlapping the lines, getting wider and wider as you overlap, for a rounded effect.”
Butt: The same technique used for the stomach can be done on this area. “Tan just the lower outside areas of the bum and leave the top and center lighter in color,” says Quinn. “It gives the appearance of light bouncing off of the top of the bum, making it look higher and tighter!”